A successful entrepreneur has to be energetic, organised and committed to a vision – all positive things, but they can lead to bad habits unless care is taken.
As the year draws to a close, it’s important to take stock of your business and to amend negative behaviours. These can commonly include the following:
Taking on too many projects
An entrepreneur’s energy can be his or her greatest weakness, as well as a great strength. When a business person is unable to concentrate on one task for more than a few minutes at a time due to pressure of work, it’s unlikely that any task will be performed to the best standard.
Of course, it is possible to work this way for a brief period of time, but only at the cost of fatigue and declining work quality, which will soon be noticed by customers and colleagues alike. Resolve to start prioritising, even if it means cutting down on overall volume.
Ignoring work-life balance
Any sensible entrepreneur realises that an exclusive focus on work soon leads to burnout. It simply is not sustainable, which is why most business people resolve to maintain boundaries between their work and personal life.
Of course, this is easier said than done, particularly as a self-starting entrepreneur (if you work from home, you’re in a better position to maintain a work-life balance, although it can easily have the opposite effect, where work encroaches onto your home life). Work can easily intrude at all hours of the day and night, and opportunities can come and go in a day.
Nevertheless, long-term sustainability is key in business, and it is vital that you reserve some time for yourself, regardless of short-term consequences.
Problems often arise because an entrepreneur has overcommitted him/herself, taking on too much work, which inevitably has a deleterious effect on work quality. Rather than taking a strategic view of the business, an overly busy entrepreneur is forced to constantly ‘fire-fight’ – constantly reacting to problems as they arise rather than proactively addressing challenges ahead.
There is no better way to ensure that your business never develops to its full potential. Ensure that you dedicate some time each week to thinking strategically about your business and examining the causes of problems so they don’t recur, as well as simply fixing symptoms as they occur.
Relying On the familiar
If a lot of time is spent on trying to solve immediate and urgent problems, it is entirely natural to rely on help from those upon whom we know we can rely. No one wants to try a new service while everything else is going wrong.
However, if an entrepreneur spends too much time in the comfort zone of familiar suppliers and customers, he or she could miss out on discovering innovative new ideas and expanding the business into new arenas. You can be sure that your competitors will not make the same mistake.
Not inviting feedback
A natural consequence of being too busy to think strategically and being overly reliant on familiar contexts is that one becomes insulated from the feedback which should be the lifeblood of any effective business. It is difficult to tell if you are falling behind in the service you provide if you neither have the time nor inclination to listen to customers and examine products provided by competitors.
Go out of your way over the next few months to look at your business anew, and ask people who use it every day. You will definitely learn something!